Johannesburg - I wrote last week about players and managers showing respect for match officials at all times. Well, have you watched any game recently where this is being carried out?
The more Fifa tries to enforce this aspect of the Laws of the Game, the more it seems it’s being flouted. I’m talking about players crowding around the referee and his assistants when a decision isn’t made in their favour.
And what about the unfortunate fourth official, who has to endure whingeing and vitriolic coaches on the sideline? Refs shouldn’t have to take that sort of abuse.
We are not “whipping boys” who club officials and players can vent their anger on because they don’t like a decision that goes against their team.
It’s clear as day that “the decisions of the referee are to be respected”.
Are they? Absolutely not, and they won’t be until the powers that be take decisive action against the perpetrators. Will they? Not a chance.
Why? Because clubs are too powerful and those same powers don’t have the guts or the testicular fortitude to take them on.
I’m not saying that the referees should be the centre of attention – they shouldn’t – but they should not be hamstrung when trying to do their job.
There’s another saying that the best refs are never seen. Well, they wouldn’t be if the players behaved themselves.
I know very few referees who enjoy dishing out yellow or red cards. That’s not what we’re there for. But we are, in some quarters, seen as a necessary evil, simply because the contestants and, in some instances, the substitutes on the bench, refuse to play by the rules. Hence the need for a referee.
New Laws of the Game changes
Law 5 – referees
An addition here, to which I have referred above, is: “The decision of the referee, and all other match officials, must always be respected.”
I think that should go without saying, but I won’t hold my breath.
In the case where a medical team official commits a dismissible offence (red and yellow cards to players and subs), the law says: “A medical team official who commits a dismissible offence (red card) may remain if the team has no other medical person available and act if a player needs medical attention.”
There has been some confusion as far as a referee’s signal for advantage is concerned. A referee told me recently that some African referee instructors are saying they should use one hand/arm only. In Europe, they use both hands/arms. The new instruction is that referees can use either signal (one arm outstretched or both arms outstretched to indicate advantage).
There are no significant changes to Law 6 (other match officials) and Law 7 (the duration of the match).
Law 8 (the start and restart of play) has a slight change regarding kickoff: “All players, except the player taking the kickoff, must be in their own half of the field of play.”
“Any number of players may contest a dropped ball (including the goalkeepers); the referee cannot decide who may contest a drop ball or its outcome.”
Last year, it read: “Referees cannot ‘manufacture’ outcome of a dropped ball. The ball is dropped again if it: Touches a player before it touches the ground; leaves the field of play after it touches the ground, without touching a player.
“If a drop ball enters the goal without touching at least two players, play is restarted with a goal kick if it enters the opponents’ goal, a corner kick if it enters the team’s goal.”
The first sentence above is not being adhered to. Referees in the UK are telling one team player to kick it back to the other team. That is wrong!
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